Let the Thanksgiving Countdown Begin — Don't Panic! (2 Weeks Away)

Related To:
thanksgiving checklist

It's already the middle of November, and Thanksgiving has snuck up on you yet again — despite landing on the same Thursday every year. Not to worry: We've drawn up a nifty do-ahead guide to help you get organized from now until November 24. Check back with us as we lead you into Turkey Day, helping you with everything from apple pie to Zinfandel.

While it may be too soon to get a jump-start on roasting the turkey, two weeks still gives you plenty of lead time to plan your best — and least stressful — holiday feast yet. It's all about setting the wheels in motion.

Get a final head count: Invite the extended family members, old high school friends, in-laws and neighbors that usually gather around your table and figure out exactly how many hungry guests you'll be cooking for this year.

Order the bird ahead of time: Since it's arguably the main event of your Thanksgiving dinner, you don't want any last-minute snafus with the turkey. Assume you'll need a turkey big enough for about 2 pounds per adult and 1 pound per child (this will ensure leftovers), and order it ahead of time from your local supermarket, butcher or specialty farm.

Start planning the menu: It's time to drag out all those old November issues of food magazines and torn-out recipes you've been hoarding and get inspired. Maybe this will be the year you mix in some new, experimental dishes along with your family's tried-and-true favorites. Or then again, maybe not (if you're like us, you have some staunch traditionalists at your table).

Next Up

It's the Final Countdown — Day-Before Planning

The day before Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to cross off a hefty portion of your to-do list. Read more.

Giada's Thanksgiving Wine Picks

Giada pairs her Thanksgiving menu with fantastic wines.

6 Healthy Vegetarian-Friendly Sides You’ll Want to Dig Into This Thanksgiving

You won’t need to worry about your waistline with these healthy dishes.

A Vintage Thanksgiving Table from HGTV

To complete the package, we've asked the experts at HGTV's Design Happens blog to "set the table" for us.

Spatchcocking: Tyler Florence's Revolutionary Technique for Cooking Your Thanksgiving Turkey in 90 Minutes

Cook your Thanksgiving turkey in 90 minutes this year with Tyler Florence’s spatchcocking technique.

Portable Thanksgiving Dishes — Thanksgiving Tip of the Day

If you’re traveling for Thanksgiving and have been asked to bring a dish, keep food safety in mind. Check out these options from Food Network.

Thanksgiving in July: Food Network Magazine’s Shortcuts Survey

From boxed mashed potatoes to canned cranberries, Food Network Magazine wants to know how you cut corners for the big feast.

Dye Your Own Thanksgiving Napkins

Pick up an extra bag of cranberries this year and dye a set of napkins for Thanksgiving.

Stuffing, Lightened Up

Thanksgiving turkey would be lost without stuffing (or dressing) on the side. But sticks of butter and pounds of sausage are not mandatory ingredients. Here are a few ways to slim down this holiday favorite and some creative additions to try.